Press Release

Becket president condemns UCLA’s antisemitic encampments in Congressional testimony Mark Rienzi’s congressional testimony highlights how UCLA facilitated mistreatment of Jewish students

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Photo of Mark Rienzi speaking at the congressional hearing

WASHINGTON Becket president Mark Rienzi testified before Congress today about how UCLA assisted antisemitic activists as they barred Jewish students from accessing the heart of their own campus (watch the testimony here). In Frankel v. Regents of the University of California, Becket and Clement & Murphy PLLC filed a lawsuit against UCLA after it allowed a group of extremist students and outside agitators to set up an encampment where they stopped Jewish students from accessing classes, the library, and other critical parts of campus. UCLA allowed and reinforced these zones, breaking the law and hurting its Jewish students.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023, anti-Jewish demonstrations emerged on college campuses nationwide. UCLA allowed activists to set up an encampment that enforced what was effectively a “Jew Exclusion Zone,” stopping Jewish students from accessing the encampment and other parts of campus unless they agreed to disavow Israel’s right to exist. The activists used checkpoints, issued wristbands, built barriers, and often locked arms to prevent Jews from passing through. For a week, UCLA’s administration was aware of these practices and chose to let them persist. In fact, rather than clearing the encampment, UCLA instructed security staff to discourage unapproved students from attempting to cross through the areas blocked by the activists. 

These occupations continued after the initial encampment was dismantled, with activists repeatedly blockading campus buildings throughout May and June. Most recently, activists forced students to be evacuated from final exams, and a Rabbi was harassed and threatened while police stood idly by.  

Here are excerpts from Becket’s president Mark Rienzi’s congressional testimony today before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections:  

“These episodes may sound like they come from Germany in the 1930s, but they don’t. They describe real-life events that occurred at the University of California, Los Angeles over the past nine months—events that have prompted a lawsuit against UCLA where my law firm is representing several students.  And they could very well describe events at any number of American universities, where similar illegal conduct occurred following Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7.” 

“Together, we can defeat the scourge of antisemitism in our institutions of higher learning and society by ‘giv[ing] to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.’ Together, we can live up to Washington’s promise that in this country, none shall be made afraid on account of his faith or ancestry. And together, we can ensure that the promises of our Constitution and our civil rights laws are kept and safeguarded.” 

His testimony can be read in full here and you can watch a recording of the hearing here 

The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hosted the hearing, Combating Workplace Antisemitism in Postsecondary Education: Protecting Employees from Discrimination, at the Rayburn House Office Building.   

Becket and Clement & Murphy PLLC are asking a federal court to ban antisemitic encampments on UCLA’s campus by August 15 before the fall semester begins. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at  or 202-349-7219.